Photos by Don "db" Barone

In Photos: db's Fishing Buddy Trip

Don "db" Barone shares his thoughts and photos of a recent fishing trip with an old fishing buddy.

It is between the edge, and the fall into darkness, where I am most comfortable in life. It is the step into not knowing, where lies the wonder, the miracle of living. It is the free-fall, where comes the juice.

I grew up on the banks of the stuff of life of this planet, water. No H2O, no us. I walked the edge of this dichotomy, the chaos of the city, the stillness, the peace of the water. As a child I sat with my feet in tranquility while my head spun in the noise, the smell, the violence, the danger. Know this, water is my church.

I'm 64 years old, at my age the stuff of fishing is just that, stuff, means the same to me as sneakers and paper clips, dusty bikes or shiny cars. When you step off the backside of life material things are left behind...

...what comes in that final journey with you are those who took the living trip with you, loved ones, family and friends. For me, quite simply, fishing is going to church with buddies, bringing together the two most important things in my life, water, and friendship. A Fishing Buddy Tale.

It begins here, Deposit, NY on the banks of the west branch of...

...the Delaware River. In my waders I stand knee deep in spirituality, I pray at night that one day I will get to heaven when in fact, heaven may be swirling around me. I'll tell you a secret, most times when I'm in a setting like this I just stand there, not moving, stand silent, stand listening...to God.

That's my fishing buddy, Mac, Dr. Mac, he is an Orthopedic Surgeon, the man who made it possible for me to stand in the water, I don't know if he would tell you this about himself but I will, fishing, water....

...is his church, too.

I'm told the West Branch of the Delaware River near the border of NY and PA is on some list of rivers you need to fish before you die, I think there are probably a lot more important things you should do before you croak...

...but throwing in a fly line or two here...

...wouldn't hurt you none.

That's my fly fishing stuff that thing on top of the St. Croix rod was made...

...by the the dude with the pony tail driving the cart there. His name is Rob and he is a fly fishing machine and college course all in one, his LIFE is fly fishing, he made that yellow fly thing on my rod and told me how he did it, "Go buy a baby chick, raise it to a chicken, pluck the chicken, eat it, take the chicken feathers and get the chicken smell out of them, paint some, tie them together, throw your pet/food non chicken smelling feather fly at the trout, wait." I don't eat pets, I went to a fly tackle shop.

I threw the pet/food non chicken smelling chicken feather fly thing at the trout like Mac is doing here except when I threw at the trout my line with the P/F NCSCF fly on it was a bit lower in it's delivery, turns out I'm a sidearm fly thrower and never had to wait for the trout to bite the P/F NCSCF since both casts I made only hooked each of my butt cheeks which BTW made me a firm believer in barbless hooks. Just saying.

Morning on the West Branch the fog came...

...rolling down the Catskills and...

...up the river but it didn't...

...stop Mac none from fishing, look close down at the left hand side of this photo, that's Mac fishing in the fog but...

...this is a clearer photo of my fishing buddy. I sent this photo to Le Ann his wife, called it "Mac @peace," she sent me back a heart emoji. Mac ran the furthermost MASH unit in Afghanistan, saved soldier's lives by doing combat surgery in a goat barn, meets with patients in a hardware store who are hurting but don't have the insurance or money to pay, I know of no one in my life who deserves peace as much as this man.

After a half day or so of throwing pet feathers at trout we moved up some in New York State to the Niagara River, My Niagara Blue, stayed the night on the Lower Niagara where we met...

...these guys, fishing buddies from Lewiston who every night from 7-9pm meet at the first light pole on the Lewiston dock and tell fish stories. You want to know where and what to fish the Lower Niagara be at the first light pole on the Lewiston Dock about 6:55PM and wait, bring some donuts or a cold beverage, great guys, even greater fishing education...

...this man is one of the 1st Light Pole guys, he just stood fishing and listening, a smile would break out when he either heard a fishing tip or a fishing lie, er, tale. He told me his name but I forgot it, won't forget though the look he gave me when I asked, "Sir by chance are you throwing non-smelling chicken feathers from your pet chicken that you just plucked and ate." I'm fairly confident, he wasn't throwing that.

Beef on Weck possibly the greatest sandwich ever invented and a Buffalo tradition, and while I'm not swearing by this I'm pretty certain that if you bought one of these, took it with you to the foot of Ontario Street dock in Buffalo, ate most of it but saved just some and put it on your hook and tossed it in pretty fair likelihood you'd catch any fish in the river that hatched in South Buffalo. That's my 1st Light Pole tip for the Upper Niagara.

Day two of the fishing buddy trip we crossed from America into my 2nd home, Canada. My family on my mother's side are from Canada, they have a couple farms in Ontario that I spent most of my summers on which BTW they also had pet chickens who...um, you know, anyway we...

...got up real, or "reel" as some seem to say a bunch, got up earlier than I like but in doing so we caught the sunrise...

...on the amazingly crystal clear water of Lake Simcoe. Trust me that's a real photo of the water we were on and not some photo of Caribbean water that I stole off of Google. That my friends is Clear Canadian H2O.

This is the dude who seems to have an amazing sense of balance and...

...fishing, JP DeRose, TV Host on the World Fishing Network, fishing tv producer guru who also hosted Mac and I on his home water where...

...he showed Mac a bunch of places to fish for smallmouth. I promised JP I wouldn't get real specific here because he fishes a bunch of tourneys on this lake and would prefer that I lie to you as to where he does that, not the first time I've had that request.

Another secret, as Mac and JP are up in the front of the boat fishing I'm in the back fishing to Jimi Hendrix coming through the speakers of JP's Yar Craft boat at which time I found out that if you are fishing and listening to Hendrix it is best to use a baitcasting rod and reel than it is a spinning reel since the baitcasting rig doesn't tangle you up as much when you do the slide down on your air guitar with Hendrix. Just saying.

Our last night on the quick buddy fishing trip, Mac in a small bed with sheets as "big as the dinner napkins." All in all we only caught a couple of fish, I was freaked that Mac didn't have a good time until he said, "Loved it, catching a fish is always great, but the best part, the best part is just being out there seeing new places, meeting new friends, fishing buddies on the water, on the water."

Know this, every drop of water that has ever been on this planet, is still on this planet, still a part of this blue bubble in space that we live on. When we look for life in outer space we look for water, drops of water that washed the hands of Einstein are still with us, molecules of H2O that cleansed the feet of Jesus are still with us, and most of what is inside of us is made up of that very stuff. May your days, may you life be filled with it, and may it bring you, and your fishing buddies, joy. As it does me. db


Wired2Fish Top Stories